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Bericht

28 Jun 2021

Autor*in:
Dante Pesce, Chairperson, UN Working Group on Business & Human Rights

UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights at 10: taking stock of the first decade

Our stocktaking underlines the proverbial glass half-full and half-empty story:

The Guiding Principles have without a doubt contributed to significant progress towards promoting respect for human rights in a business context.

They have clearly articulated the different but complementary roles of States and business in preventing and addressing business-related human rights impacts and provided a common platform for action that did not exist before 2011...

The Guiding Principles have helped establish accountability and access to remedy for rights-holders as essential features of a responsible business framework.

In particular, the concept of corporate human rights due diligence, certainly the most notable normative innovation, has seen broad institutional uptake...

The “governance gaps” that created the need to develop the Guiding Principles still allow too many instances of business-related human rights abuses across all sectors and regions.

Lack of access to remedy for rights-holders remains the most glaring gap and a threat to meaningful progress over the next decade.

Above all, the challenge of policy coherence in both government and business practice is still a key obstacle for more robust progress...

As our addendum report on the performance of institutional investors highlights, wider investor action to integrate human rights due diligence is also critical for scaling up business respect for human rights overall...

Our addendum report on human rights defenders highlights that defenders in all regions are under threat and attack because they raise concerns about the adverse human rights impacts of business operations, and because they shine a light on cases and the underlying patterns of harmful State and business conduct and investment...

Improvements in access to remedy for rights-holders of business-related harms need to be supported by a range of actions...

Finally, collective challenges require comprehensive action in all parts of the world, including increased capacity building and platforms for learning and accountability, to support races to the top in all regions. We also need to know what really works. Corporate transparency and better data on human rights due diligence outcomes for people are key.

While massive challenges remain, the first decade demonstrated that change is possible. This provides hope for the next decade, as a foundation to intensify efforts to address remaining gaps and seize existing opportunities.

To contribute to this effort, we will release later this year a roadmap for the next decade, resting on the common platform provided by the Guiding Principles and the broad, growing movement converging around them...